In West Virginia, we’re pulling out all the stops to show newly elect Senator Manchin that supporting the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is the right thing to do. Yesterday, veterans Pepe Johnson and Jared Towner joined SLDN staff member Jeremy Wilson to meet with the Senator’s staff in Washington, D.C. to discuss how DADT has affected each of them.
The group also delivered a video, which was collaboration between the Human Rights Campaign and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network that highlighted the stories of Mountaineer veterans, straight and gay, from around the state.
Jared Towner, who has served three tours of duty in Iraq and is a West Virginia Young Democrat and former staffer for Manchin’s senate campaign, had this to say about yesterday’s meeting:
It was good to see my friends from the Repeal cause again today. We met with Senator Manchin’s Legislative Aid Joe Ann McLaughlin and his military fellow Sylvia Pletos to talk about the absolute need to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” As a straight veteran who has served in combat, I am fully in support of repeal. I lobbied the late Senator Byrd before his historic vote to support repeal and I will keep fighting until we see the end of this discriminatory law.
While our audience at Senator Manchin’s office was engaged and responsive, we cannot rest on our laurels and assume that the vote is won. We must, as an active constituency, reassure Senator Manchin that his vote for the repeal is what’s best for WV and the nation as a whole.
I made my voice heard today, and I’m asking that you do the same. Please call his D.C. Office at (202) 224-3954 to urge Senator Manchin to support repeal. Our Senator needs to hear from you right now to ensure the end of this repressive and dangerous policy.
Do you live in the Charleston area? We need your help! Please contact me at Christine.Sloane@hrc.org to find out ways to get involved over the coming week. We simply can’t do this without you.